Self Assessments – Accurate or Not?

Have you ever been to a training session where you’ve had so much fun and feel like you’ve learnt so much…until you go to apply it later?

We all have! Our self assessment, our judgement of our learning, at the end of the session would have been fairly high, while we were feeling high. However that feeling only lasts until we apply – or fail to apply.

The self assessment we make about whether we’ve learnt, also known as learning judgements, have been shown to be woefully inaccurate. This isn’t just training but in all aspects of study and education. We are not reliable judges!!

Making Learning Stick

Yesterday as people entered our Trainers meeting they encountered some memory triggers written on orange dots on the floor –

  • Think of a training session you loved
  • You felt like you’d learnt so much
  • When you ‘tried to apply’ it what happened?
  • Think of a time you struggled to apply the learning
  • What would have made the learning stick?

learning judgements - training

Make learning stick – learning judgements

How to make learning stick – suggestions were written on post-it notes and added to the poster. The responses were:
Connect it with me
More application in practice in training
Make it fun
Receiving reminders – email, sms
Make it an experience
Steps scheduled in calendar
“Try it on”
Having it reinforced
Enjoyable and Interactive
Imagine stepping through an example
Find the key message and simplify it
Discuss case studies

Admittedly some participants were a little annoyed at having to work before they sat down. “I’m not here to think – I’m here to learn!” Oops not on my watch! This first activity before we’d even started the session was to get everyone to start connecting to the topic and what they already knew.


Why would we want to connect our learners to the topic we are going to cover and get them thinking about what they already know about it?
creating connections - learning and development

The first step in learning is connecting

Step #1 Connection
Connect to prior knowledge, learning goal and each other.

To continue building this connection there were the 4 steps to learning placed around the wall. These were followed by some sensory posters about what senses different activities used. Once again it was our learners adding post-it notes to cover what activities we could do that might engage the sense.

In this walk around, think, discuss, and write we were creating connections.

On their sheet, the final thing they were asked to do before we began, was to write a learning goal for today.

How Does This Relate to Learning Judgements?

When we connect to content and our prior knowledge we are already engaging our brain on the topic. We remember what we write better than what we read, hear, or what the trainer writes. When we write a goal we have something to measure against upon the completion of the training.

The more we build in reliable measures, and get learners to think, the more reliable the learning judgements they make are.

This tied into the remainder of the session – 6 times, 6 ways. How we can deliver information 6 times in 6 different ways to cement the learning and deliver effective training. The better we do this, the more useful the learning. Read on in the next post.

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  1. […] self-assessment – accurate or not? we mentioned the first learning step – connection. Around the walls yesterday were the other […]

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